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Issue Home October 17, 2007 Site Home

Letters to the Editor Policy

Therapy For The Soul

If you or a friend are hurting from an abortion, you are invited to attend a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat for healing after abortion which will be held November 2-4 at St. Gabriel's Retreat Center, Clarks Summit. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel's Vineyard Ministries, tells us, "Our mission is to provide a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing. Rachel's Vineyard helps participants find their inner voice. It helps participants experience God's love and compassion on a profound level. It creates a place where men and women can share, often for the first time, their deepest feelings about abortion. They are allowed to dismantle toxic secrets in an environment of emotional and spiritual safety. Rachel's Vineyard is a therapy for the soul. Participants who have been trapped in anger towards themselves or others experience forgiveness. Peace is found. Lives are restored. A sense of hope and meaning for the future is discovered."

For more information, contact Denise Rowinski Mengak at (570) 822-7118 ext. 307 For national information visit www.rachelsvineyard.org.


Annette Corrigan

Jackson, PA

Dispel The Myths

“The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachments by men of zeal, well meaning, but without understanding.” Justice Louis D. Brandis (1856-1941)

That seems to be the function of the militant rescuers, who now propose to “save New Milford” from the big, bad mining industry.

I have been at the meetings, in which I have seen and heard so many false statements, innuendos, and the emotional testimony of Mr. Martel; it is no wonder that the people who do not attend township meetings could think that this group might be on to something.

If I may help to dispel some of these myths, I feel honor bound to do so.

1. No gravel pits signs. You folks spent some money on these signs, and are not even protesting a gravel pit. You are protesting a stone quarry. As a currently licensed source technician in the Commonwealth, I promise you there is a huge difference. Gravel is a sand and round cobblestone that doesn’t require any blasting to mine it. It is also what you see if you are at the New Milford Township building.

2. The pictures you so reverently wave about, is indeed a stone quarry.

3. Compliance issues. Come on, folks, we are talking about a state, and federal regulations. Any time you deal with these types of entities, you know you are heading for some red tape. You can be out of compliance for not initialing the tag on a fire extinguisher. Sounds scary, but is really just another way to generate state revenue.

4. Permits. They are actually a living document. Every time big changes happen, an engineer will do cross-sections to show its current state and the projections of where it will go. The only constant is change. Just like life.

5. Authority. You folks must realize there are only so many responsibilities that local elected officials are able to do. Your leader, the attorney, surely must realize this, yet he continues to allow the followers to go to these meetings and insult, berate, and patronize these fine men and women with the assumption that because you request it, and they are not legally able to do it, then they just aren’t doing the job. I hope you do not run for a local position. You will not like the frustration that comes with it.

6. Lyncott Landfill. You almost had me scared at the possibility that blasting rock on one mountain range will disturb anything on another mountain range. It then occurred to me that anyone who handles explosives are highly educated men, who are governed by an outfit called Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Boy, the people in that operation would not take kindly to some dummy blowing up a whole town. The quarry operator would not be impressed by having a block of stone ruined, either. Now, I understand that nothing is impossible, but that could almost be a guarantee, most folks know what AFT did after the Oklahoma City blast job. Times have changed; blasting is no longer done with sticks of dynamite like they did when they blew up safes. The large majority of the time, you would not be aware that a shot went off unless you were there. Which, by the way, unless you have big bucks for the insurance, you won’t be there.

7. Quality of life. There are only a few mining operations that you can see from a road. The rest are in the mountains where the stone is. I would ask the real estate industry to show property to prospective buyers when the trucks are running and not on Sunday; you would then be more informed on what your quality should be. I myself believe that the mining industry has provided a qualify of life since the first stone was mined in this county. That money contributes to a tax base for schools, parks, libraries, roads and the livelihoods of the shopkeepers and tavern owners. That stone builds our homes, our churches, and a memorial for the American veterans that we love. When you had your fund-raiser at the park, did you not notice the monuments, or the bluestone sidewalks?

8. Your agenda. Everyone has one. I still cannot really get what your group is about. You say you are rescuing us from the impact of our livelihoods, yet it appears you are not promoting environmental issues, such as the landfill and plastics problem, as what true environmentalists would do; you are instead linking with other conservationist groups who are known to be some of the largest landholders in this country. All under the Dept. of Interior. I hope more people who are aware of the Nature Conservancy become aware that this is the type of group you are, and will act according to their conscience and realize that militant environmentalists firmly believe that there should be no private land use.

9. Water issue. Wells run dry. Old water systems fail. If your well was to be sucked dry by the proposed amount of water this mine uses, I would have become more concerned at the beginning of this operation, and not so many months after the fact. Not all problems with water can be blamed on mining.

10. Truck traffic. Notice that it says “State Route 848.” That tells me that trucks are allowed on the roads. Happens on all state routes. You must notice that when Interstate 81 is under construction every year, that the traffic is rerouted down into our little town. These men are professionals who pay the big bucks to register and insure their trucks, not to mention another money-generating item called fuel tax. If you are afraid of big trucks, slow down and move over.

11. Tourism. I notice we get tourists at the gas station. I also notice that our attractions are the gay camps, nudist colony, Elk Mountain Ski Resort, and the Joseph Smith monument. I know many small business owners who assure me the majority of the customers are locals, so a possibility of losing business due to a mining operation in the township will not affect the tourists spending their money locally.


Cynthia Allen

Summerville, PA

Regarding The Buck Bridge

The Starrucca Borough Council, President Kirk Rhone, Fred Rhone, Robert Buck, Donald Haynes, Helen Haynes, Anthony Palonis are bound to make Starrucca pay for this bridge, no matter the cost. Councilman Lou Gurske and Mayor Jack Downton are against this expenditure.

There were 70 taxpayers who signed a petition not to borrow the $70,000 for this bridge. This is a county bridge.

This council had engineering done for $16,500 at taxpayer expense. They then had roads surveyed at a cost of $2,900. Part of that survey was Buck Bridge Road, so they could change the entrance.

They let out the bids for the bridge and they came back at $85,000 and up. So they rejected the bids and adjusted the bid package to exclude the approaches at an additional cost of $400.00 for changes to the design.

They then called a special meeting. A motion was made to rebid the adjusted design package; it was seconded over the objection of councilman Louis Gurske, and questions of Mayor Jack Downton. The meeting was closed. There was not any public comment allowed.

The council has paid back $8,900 for the first year on the $70,000 loan. Over ten years the $70,000 loan is going to cost taxpayers $89,000.

They are paying for the bridge with taxpayer money. Add the costs for this bridge: engineering of $16,500 plus $400.00 for a change to the approaches. Add in the cost of road survey, fees for the borough solicitor Ronald Bugaj. Where will the money come from for the approaches that were removed from the original bid package for the bridge?

We come up with more money that this borough of 200 citizens cannot afford.

This bridge is one-quarter of a mile from the Susquehanna County line and goes to land the Bucks/Rhones own in Thompson Township. This is a “no outlet” road.

Susquehanna County will get the tax dollars and the Bucks/Rhones will get their bridge and Starrucca Borough taxpayers will be saddled with the cost.


Barbara Glover

Roger Glover

Starrucca, PA

Can You Believe It?

Russia and China having joint war maneuvers somewhere in China. Attacks were made in an isolated part of China. After the attacks were over with, Mr. Putin of Russia was elated at the results. But the Chinese leader was mum and reserved about these so-called combined efforts at play war.

Do you realize that the population of China is 1 1/2 billion? Seems difficult to believe! China is a very large nation, also Russia, even larger, goes almost to the North Pole.

Canada, a very large nation also, our neighbor to the North has become somewhat lax in their refugee system. We, the USA’s, fear of terrorists are concerned about this situation. Terrorists making their way so easily into Canada and then across the border into the USA. In some cases, Canada has armed their border patrol, but not many are armed. So we watch, talk and balk at our Canadian borders as well as our Mexican borders. One gigantic chore on our part.

Inflation, another reason to be concerned, it most certainly is with us. I see it in the grocery stores, gas stations, even ice cream cones.

I think inflation will always be with us unless we have a depression come upon us (very much doubt it). As the world turns, we all live with what is happening in our own country and others. After all, many of us lived through World War II with the many restrictions and as for myself, four years in the service.

Am I a worrywart? To some degree, but what I write about is what I read about. Better stop reading, right?


Hayden B. Aldrich

Great Bend, PA

Your Care Was Wonderful

Having been present in SNF of Barnes-Kasson Hospital for a year with my husband as a resident, I have observed much weakness in the system. I have been very critical of the judicial body for its failings and shortcomings, and I stand by my criticism! However, I will commend whomever offered a small raise in pay to the employees and encourage you to offer another raise before such a vast time span!

I want to thank and commend the nursing home staff from supervisors, RNs, LPNs and aides, to the cleaning personnel and laundry girl and volunteers. I am so glad you all “crossed my path,” as I am the better for it!

My husband is now a resident in the Gino J. Merli Veterans Center in Scranton, because as a disabled veteran he earned the right to be cared for there – “We are the land of the free because of the brave!”

This facility is much larger and very regimented (am I’m still getting lost), but your care was wonderful, personal, and kind and comparable to this.

And the sweet residents that I came to know and love are in my mind and heart and prayers.

It was a very busy but wonderful year, and I still encourage the board of directors to do what you know in your hearts is the honorable and saving grace of your facility.

We love and thank you all in SNF.


Audrey Kerr

New Milford, PA

Mining Application Withdrawn

Residents of the county were informed Wednesday, October 10, that operators of the mountaintop mining operation, just off the New Milford interchange of I-81, have withdrawn their application for a large non-coal mining permit, which was on file with the Department of Environmental Protection.

Without active intervention on behalf of all county residents, in all likelihood an opposite end-result may have occurred – approval by DEP of the original application with only minor changes occurring here and there. Withdrawal of this application, however, must not allow anyone to become complacent, thinking that the matter is finally settled. To the contrary, reports indicate that the mining operators will be filing a new application with DEP in the near future. Moreover, opposition to the continued ongoing, existing operation must continue until the mining operators comply with all federal and state mining and environmental regulations, and also deal directly with the concerns of the families residing in close proximity to the mine – concerns regarding their health, welfare, quality of life, and degradation of property values. Of equal import is continued insistence by county residents that DEP impose restrictions upon ongoing blasting operations at this mining operation until definitive studies have been completed which will help to clearly define the impact which such detonations may have upon the nearby Lyncott Hazardous Waste site.

Perhaps this application withdrawal will convince federal, state, and county representatives to get off the fence, come out of the closet, and stop hiding behind nonsensical claims of "neutrality", or "it’s not a federal issue", or "we don't want to hurt the....." – claims which on face-value – are absolutely absurd, considering that so many of those they claim to represent are already suffering dearly. This withdrawal may only be the first "round" of an extended battle.


John Drann,

New Milford Twp.

School Bus Safety Week

October 21 through October 27 is National School Bus Safety Week. Most people do not realize that school bus transportation continues to be one of the safest forms of ground transportation. In fact, a school bus is eight times safer than a passenger car. This is no accident. It is through the efforts of hard working and dedicated professionals, particularly the drivers, that makes this so.

Our tremendous safety record is due to tough federal and state regulations, extensive school bus driver training and review, and our commitment to safety. School busing is a much more complex and demanding job than most people realize or appreciate. It is supported by an extensive network of personnel including mechanics, dispatchers and driver safety trainers. The vehicles are designed, built and equipped for the safety of the children they are used to transport. They are operated during the busiest travel periods of the day and in all types of road and weather conditions.

School bus drivers are justifiably held to a higher standard as professional operators. We feel we attain that goal with superior driving habits and skills. The problem is that our best efforts can only deliver a part of the results. An awareness of the law and behavior of the driving public remains a critical element in the safety of the children we transport to and from school. When a motorist feels they can’t remain behind a school bus and will go through stop signs, make u-turns in the middle of the road, or pull directly out in front of the bus because they are in a hurry, are not doing this just to the bus driver, they are doing this to all the children riding on the bus. These types of actions put the children in unnecessary danger.

Too many times school bus drivers report motorists passing stopped school buses when they are picking up or discharging students. School buses are equipped with an 8-way lighting system. The amber (yellow) lights will begin flashing between 300 and 150 feet before the school bus stops. During this time, the motorist must prepare to stop. When the school bus stops, the red lights will begin flashing and the side-stop arm will be extended. All motorists meeting or following the bus must be stopped at least ten (10) feet from the bus and are not to proceed until the red lights are no longer activated and the students have reached a place of safety. Pennsylvania law is quite simple to remember; a motorist must always stop for a school bus when the red lights are flashing. There are no exceptions. This includes fire engines, ambulances, police cars and funeral processions. If a motorist fails to stop for a school bus, it is an automatic 60-day suspension of their driver’s license, 5 points on their driving record, and a $100 fine.

School bus safety is also influenced by activity on the bus. The driver has to contend with weather and road conditions and maintain an awareness of all activity around the bus, driveways, intersections, people, pets and wildlife. While a driver has all this to consider outside the bus, he need not be distracted by misbehavior inside the bus. Rules are provided for students to follow while riding the bus and are there to maintain a safe and orderly environment. Parents/guardians should serve as role models and instruct their children in appropriate and socially acceptable behavior on a school bus as well as everywhere else. The driver should be accorded the respect he has earned and deserves.

Observe School Bus Safety Week, every week. It could save a life.


James M. Ainey

Montrose, PA

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